If you love to read, you already know that this activity can induce intense pleasure and a whole host of emotions that no other hobby can offer. But did you know that in addition to entertaining and enriching us culturally, a book can also have health benefits? We explain it to you.
We don’t savor a book like we savor a series, a film, or even a play. The book works our understanding. It requires efforts to concentrate, prompts us to be totally active. And then a book is an open window on new ideas, faraway lands, or invented landscapes. In short, it is an infinite space of freedom for our imagination. And if the avid reader knows that reading makes us more cultured and wiser, he is less aware that this activity has other benefits than that of shining in the evening. Because reading boosts memory, reduces stress, and even makes it easier to fall asleep. Magic the books? Yes, but also really beneficial. Here is the proof:
1. Reading develops empathy
When you read fiction, you enter an unknown universe, and quite often, you slip into the shoes of another person or even several. And without even realizing it, here we are trying to understand the feelings and motivations of each one, here we are in the process of putting ourselves in the place of characters born in the imagination of a writer! It’s called empathy, and according to a 2013 Science Mag study, fiction books have the power to broadly develop this understanding of emotions. While reading is an activity that is practiced alone, it also allows you to be more altruistic and more attentive to others. Who would’ve believed that?
2. Reading reduces stress
Reading, the best remedy for our anxieties and preoccupations? According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex in 2009 and reported by Stylist UK, reading for at least six minutes a day can reduce stress by 68%. In comparison, listening to music reduces this nasty feeling by 61%, while drinking a cup of tea reduces it by 54%. The reason is simple: when you immerse yourself in a book – whether it’s fiction or not – you focus on what is written. Gradually, the tension in our muscles is released, and our heart rate slows down. You can now buy the Book of Psalms online from Alabaster.
3. Reading stimulates memory
Reading is good for your morale, but also for your head! Several studies have shown it: reading generates real brain gymnastics. Thus, by participating in this activity regularly, we stimulate our neural connections, and we make our memory work. Reading often reduced our cognitive deterioration by 32%, according to research published in the scientific journal Neurology in 2013. And if immersing yourself in a good book is not a miracle cure for all our ills, a study published in 2001 in the scientific journal Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences estimates that reading has a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, people who read regularly (or who play chess) have a 2.5% lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The reason, according to the doctor in charge of the study? The brain is an organ like any other. It needs to be challenged and sharpened, so it doesn’t wear out too quickly.
4. Reading is therapeutic
In 2012, a team of consumer behavior researchers set out to find out what makes people revisit a book or movie on a regular basis. Is it an addiction? An attitude close to ritual? Or just nostalgia? After interviewing about 20 volunteers, the scientists found that people who tend to return to the same book often do so in an attempt to find new meaning in the story. In other words, proofreading gives them a new perspective on life and can have a therapeutic effect. For example, one participant explained that she used to reread Robert James Waller’s On the Road to Madison whenever she felt melancholy. According to her, the book allows her “to have a good cry and let all the sadness out of (her) system.” So you will understand, rereading a book is not a waste of time. On the contrary, it is a real antidote to the gloom.